Ashmanhaugh Light Railway. Image courtesy of Mike Page.
Everyone loves a ride on a train - and how many little boys have the dream of being a steam train driver (along with their dads, and granddads..). Heritage railways in particular are enjoying a huge rise in popularity and there is nothing more atmospheric than the smell from a steam train and the clicketyclack of the track. Here are some of our favourites in Norfolk – and the first one just happens to be on the site of our holiday cottages at East View Farm, so you couldn’t be nearer!
The first Sunday of the month during May-September from 2-5pm is when the ALR “boys” run their trains. There is a great selection of steam, diesel and electric trains for the seven and a quarter inch gauge track and over the three quarters of a mile journey you will see a lake, a bridge, a mystery mine entrance – and a few fairies around the track too for a great fun afternoon. There are refreshments, free parking – and you can even book a steam train driving course for that special railway fan in your life.
From Wroxham to Aylsham is the nine mile 15” gauge railway running through the picturesque meadows of the Bure River valley. With stop off points on the way, you can hop on and off for a walk or a cycle ride through the peaceful countryside before returning to enjoy the historic town of Aylsham dating back to 500AD with its interesting architecture and great pubs.
Another popular small gauge railway Barton House railway is right beside the River Bure - with the added attraction that you can take a boat trip from Wroxham Bridge along the river down to the railway in a garden setting. There’s also a fascinating museum of railway artefacts and a working full size signal box.
Also known as “The Poppy Line” from the beautiful north Norfolk scenery the track passes through on its journey from the seaside town of Sheringham to the beautiful Georgian town of Holt. These are the proper full size steam and diesel trains from yesteryear totally refurbished and restored. There are dining trains, murder mystery weekends, special events and so much more on this very popular heritage railway.
There is a fantastic beach at Wells and the best way to get from the harbour to it is along the light railway track with steam and diesel locos on this 10 and a quarter inch narrow gauge track. Spend the day enjoying the sand, the colourful beach huts and the nearby beach of Holkham before walking back to enjoy some freshly caught fish for a fish and chip supper in Wells.
Here you can enjoy not only steam railways on a narrow gauge track - but also the world famous gardens designed by the renowned gardener Alan Bloom. There are also traditional fairground gallopers, four different railways and endless planting schemes in the 20 acres of gardens as well as special events.
All words by Jane Pond of East View Farm Holiday Cottages, Ashmanhaugh, Norfolk. You can view all of our properties in Norfolk by clicking here.